Acqua for Life – World Water Day




In 2016, the sixth year of their partnership, Green Cross and Giorgio Armani will extend the Acqua for Life project to Brazil for the first time. An initial project will target a subdistrict of Mariana, which still suffers the catastrophic consequences of the Bento Rodriguez Dam rupture on 5 November 2015. On that day, 60 million cubic metres of iron waste and contaminated water were released into the Doce River. Some 200 communities, with a total of 280,000 people, had their access to water cut off in the aftermath of the catastrophe. Later in the year a second initiative will be launched in an underprivileged region of Brazil.

With the support of Giorgio Armani, Green Cross will install 20 rainwater harvesting systems in two of the worst-affected municipalities near the dam. The collected water will be used for drinking, hygiene and latrines, as well as to irrigate small vegetable gardens at the schools. Green Cross Brazil and its partners will also engage with local communities, and hold training workshops for teachers (about 40 in total) on maintenance of water systems and sustainable water practices.

Another new project will take place in China’s Guizhou Province, which neighbours Yunnan where Green Cross has worked before. The “Qishu Village Drinking Water Project” will benefit an estimated 1,301 people from 321 households. Among them are the 158 teachers and primary school students who will be provided with a reliable supply of water in their school. In addition to building water infrastructure, the project will provide extensive training to an appointed village representative to ensure the system’s sustainability.

Saint Louis -­‐ Senegal The school had a single well of saline water that was unsuitable for drinking. Green Cross has built a drinking water point, connected to the local network with 4 taps, a concrete structure covered in tiles. This simple equipment makes life easier at school. Time is now devoted to studying. © Alain Buu

“With Acqua for Life, I wanted to focus on a key asset: water, the origin of life itself, an indispensable element of daily life,” said Giorgio Armani. “I wanted to create a long-term program that provided a real benefit to those who are the most needy.”

Acqua for Life will return in 2016 to Bolivia, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Senegal (respectively, South America’s poorest country and three West African nations where vast portions of the population do not have access to safe water). Those developing regions have benefitted the most, proportionately, from Acqua for Life projects so far – as these are the places where water poverty is the most widespread and acute among Acqua for Life countries. In 2015 and 2016, some of the projects were adapted to address water pollution problems, complementing the construction of water supply infrastructure in communities.

In Senegal, the primary targets of Acqua for Life since 2012 have been children in schools. Green Cross enables the development of life skills, and facilitates the mobilization and involvement of parents, communities, governments and institutions working together to improve hygiene, water safety and sanitary conditions.

Inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene facilities are a common factor keeping girls out of school. Poor girls can spend four hours each day collecting water, leaving little time for school. Those that do go to school often drop out when they start to menstruate, because there is no safe place to keep clean at school. Acqua for Life facilities include dedicated toilet blocks for girls. In this way Green Cross, with Acqua for Life, has changed the lives of 5,000 students in 2015 and will continue to help more in 2016.



About Acqua for Life
Acqua for Life is a global initiative supported by Giorgio Armani which, since 2011, has given 108 communities in eight countries and three continents access to drinking water. Every year Acqua for Life also engages in campaigns to raise awareness among public opinion on water-related issues. Activities in the field by Green Cross have included the installation of water points, latrines, rainwater collection, and water filtering and purification systems, in areas that lack water or drinking water – a natural element fundamental to life.

Acqua for Life has set up projects worldwide to sustainably transform the daily lives of people at high risk of mortality and disease, as well as children deprived of an education by the lack of water or access to contaminated water for a large proportion of the community.

The most common victims of this situation are the most vulnerable: children and women.

For more information, please visit:


About Green Cross International
GCI is an independent non-profit and nongovernmental organization founded in 1993 by Nobel Peace Laureate Mikhail Gorbachev. It addresses the inter-connected global challenges of security, poverty and environmental degradation through global advocacy and local projects. GCI is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland and has a network of national organizations in some 30 countries.

About the Water for Life and Peace programme:

GCI’s Water for Life and Peace programme works to improve global water governance and promotes a rights-based approach to the sustainable and equitable use of freshwater resources. GCI uses advocacy, education and practical projects around the world to improve people’s access to water and sanitation. The Smart Water for Green Schools (SWGS) project is GCI’s flagship on-the-ground activity.

For further information, please visit our website:



Richard Toll -­‐ Senegal The water tower guarantees that almost 2,000 students will never lack water even in times of drought. For girls, who are the majority in most Senegalese schools, school is becoming a genuine place of self -­‐ fulfillment where they can devote themselves to their future plans. © Alain Buu